Bubil: On preserving the process of architecture


Architectural history books abound in the bookstores, which tells me they must sell or else publishers wouldn’t print them.

Such books wouldn’t exist without the scholars and historians who write them. But their jobs would be nearly impossible without the work of archivists — the people who collect, organize and make accessible the working drawings, renderings, blueprints and models of the architects, and even their correspondence with peers and clients. Such documents give insight into the creative process behind our finest buildings.

Cindy Peterson is one such archivist, and a pioneering one at that. After gaining valuable experience archiving the work of her husband, noted Sarasota architect Guy Peterson, Cindy earned a master’s degree in library science in 2007 from Simmons College in Boston, and later organized the collection of architectural documents at the University of Florida.

So important has been her work in architectural circles that the American Institute of Architects’ Florida chapter presented Cindy with the Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award earlier this month. This is AIA-Florida’s highest award for non-architects, recognizing “interest, activity and concern for the profession of architecture” that advances “the cause of good design and planning,” and/or contributes to the “dignity and value of the architectural profession.”

The award is named for the former Florida governor and U.S. senator whose interest in architecture led AIA-Florida to make him an honorary member.

Cindy Peterson’s work as first curator of UF’s Smathers Libraries Architecture Archives “resulted in the digitization and preservation of many of the historical structures and design legacies of our state,” said the AIA.

She also orchestrated the establishment of the Center of Architecture Sarasota by bringing together UF and the city of Sarasota to begin renovation of a 1960 Bill Rupp-designed modernist building at 261 S. Orange Ave. for use as UF’s CityLab Sarasota. In it, the college will conduct a graduate program in architecture. CFAS also will host films, exhibits, lectures and educational programs dedicated to this mission.

Cindy also is president of the board of directors of the Center for Architecture Sarasota and sits on the board of directors of DOCOMOMO/Florida. She is director of operations of the new Elling O. Eide Charitable Foundation, where she manages literary and art collections, including the 72-acre historic property near Westfield Sarasota Square mall.

She notes that the original drawings of the Ponce de Leon Hotel, now Flagler College, in St. Augustine, by the legendary 19th-century firm of Carrére and Hastings, were found in a boiler room only after a janitor revealed their whereabouts quite by chance.

Archivists strive to make sure the primary source material of the built environment’s history is not lost.


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: August 17, 2013
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